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Why you should have a marketing plan

One of the most important tools that you will need to run and grow your business is a marketing plan. Far too often business owners make the mistake of thinking that they don't really need to market or they need to market to everyone. This is not effective marketing and it can seriously damage the chances of your business being successful. Having a marketing plan will help you to find the best ways to market effectively for the highest return. There are a number of reasons why you should take the time to put together a marketing plan. Here is why you should have a marketing plan-

- It provides guidelines-If you are a successful business owner then chances are that you have a plan for every aspect of your business. Marketing shouldn't be any different. Having a marketing plan is like having a set of instructions that will help to guide you in achieving your marketing goals. Business experts stress that when you have a marketing plan that is written down and highly visible you are far more likely to achieve your marketing objectives. Keep in mind that despite the best of intentions it is far too easy to go off course when it comes to marketing which is only a waste of time, money and effort.
- It charts your progress-A marketing plan can also become a record of your progress. When you are at the beginning of your marketing plan it only provides the instructions on where to go but as time progresses you will be able to look back on it and see if you are headed the right direction and how you are doing with working toward your marketing goals. You can see how far you have come and if you are still on course. You should keep in mind however, that your marketing plan will be a dynamic plan. This is because the needs of the market, your customers, and even your business will change as time goes on. Keep in mind that you may need to make changes. However, even if you are making changes as you go along your marketing plan will still show you how far you have come.
- It serves as a record-Your marketing plan will also serve as a record for what you have done. Keep in mind that marketing can be complex operation with many different parts. You will want to have a written record of what you have done (and not done), and what has worked and not worked. Do not assume that you can remember all of the marketing methods that you have tried and the results. With the many demands of running a business most business owners find that over time they can't really remember their last (or any), of the marketing campaigns. You can use your marketing plan to record what you have done which can save you considerable time and money. However, it cannot be stressed enough that in order for your marketing plan to serve as a written record someone will need to be in charge of keeping it up to date.
- It can promote employee unity and teamwork-It may surprise you to learn that one of the most frustrating things for employees is not knowing what the business owner wants to have happen. You can show your employees your marketing plan to garner their enthusiasm and their support in achieving your marketing goals. Do not underestimate the power that having the support of your employees can bring to achieving your marketing objectives. The bottom line is that your employees will appreciate you involving them in the growth of the business of they work for.

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